Thursday, 30 July 2015

Of Passport and Scaling

Renewing passport previously was hassle-free, with the convenience of the kiosks and efficient staffs, which I've blogged about here.

Unfortunately, 4 years down the road, it has changed tremendously. There was a change in process recently where all photographs were to be taken on the spot at the Immigration office. So you need not bring your photos over, similar to the NRID process. Just bring your old passport and IC / birth certificate... not forgetting RM200 for a 5 years passport (RM100 for students and senior citizens). Due to this additional process, it has caused a hassle and the time spent here has tripled compared to previous process.

We arrived at Kelana Jaya branch at 7.30am and the queue has spiralled so damn long! Apparently, some kiasu's started queueing since 6am! Totally speechless! Anyway, thankfully due to the festive season and staffs on long leave, there was no special queue for senior citizens / handicapped or else we would have to wait extra longer. Sorry, didn't mean to discriminate but limited numbers were given out that week ya i.e. 500 only due to many staffs still on leave.
We were no. 106 and 107
After getting the number, we waited and waited and waited... finally our numbers were called at 10.45am! This is part 1 - submit documents and take photograph.

After that, wait again for part 2 - to make payment. Finally, our numbers were called at 11.10am. The staff told us to come back 1 hour later to collect our passports at counter 1 and there was a batch number given.

Thankfully, we were able to collect our passports by 11.40am! What a relief! Wasted the whole morning just for passport renewal! Honestly wished they would shorten the process especially at the first part, which was time-consuming.

Next, dentist appointment with a government clinic in KL. Not sure if it was due to my rushing or the dentist was unhappy having to work so soon (Raya mood still not over yet) but my experience here was horrific.

In summary, the difference between a RM 2 and RM 150 scaling = brute force and equipment. FYI, you can read my previous experience here.

Why? Well, I was in agony and pain throughout the scaling process. It felt like 15 hours for a 15 mins job. My gum and mouth felt sore and pain, bleeding a lot and no toothpaste at the end. My teeth felt sharp too. The cost was RM 2 but it was an experience I totally hated. The equipment was old too and they seemed to be having issues technically. Overall, it's a nightmare which I never want to revisit. So I guess I will never go for scaling in another year or 2. Maybe stopped forever. TBH, the RM 150 scaling experience was way better, more gentle and less pain.

It took a week or so for my gum and teeth to recuperate. Couldn't take hard stuff for a while. Even cold drinks as it made my teeth and gum sore and numb again. Jeez... lesson learnt here. However I cannot understand why the standard at the clinic differed so much from the hospital. Is it the pay? The skill set? The expertise? The maturity? I guess I'll never know. So for now, no more dentists for the time being. Case closed.

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

MPOV: The Gift of Rain

This book tells the journey of a boy of mixed parentage, Philip Arminius Khoo-Hutton. His main passage started the day he met his aikido sensei, Hayato Endo, a Japanese diplomat. This book was written in 2 parts - the first is pre-war and the second is during the war.

Set in Penang during the World War 2, the first part revolves around a young Philip on his difficulty of being accepted in society as a mixed blood which was uncommon during those time, the distance he felt within his family, the bullying he received at school, all of which led to his low self esteem. With the help of Endo San, he slowly began to accept himself and regained confidence, increasing his self worth. This also led to a better family ties which his father, Noel Hutton, really appreciates but also worried due to the prediction of a soothsayer previously.

The second part is when the Japanese slowly crept into Malaya, a turning point between Philip and Endo as the invasion slowly taking place. This has ultimately made Philip realised that he has been used by Endo, in turned made him closer to his family. A lot of treachery and misunderstanding during the war with the Japanese's cruelty hitting full force.

Truly a remarkable storyline, beautifully written with so much descriptive paragraphs with smooth flow of words to slowly digest, preferably not for speed reading. I can understand how Philip felt, his evolving self from boy to man and his loyalty values. How he was betrayed, his ethical upbringing with so much conflicts in life was so heart wrenching. Definitely a memorable read, a book worth investing for.

To be honest, I have shelved this book many times as it is a heavy read. Now I do regret shelving it as it is an incredible book! Well, better late than never! To quote Philip: The mind forgets but the heart will always remember.

New word: Soothsayer (noun): someone who makes predictions about what is going to happen in the future

My rating: 5/5
Author: Tan Twan Eng
Genre: Asian literature, historical, fiction

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Great customer service!

I guess most of you would have noticed that I love Bar-B-Q Plaza! I usually frequent the restaurant in Main Place as it's less crowded plus the mall has everything I want *grinning*

Well, it has been awhile since we last visited. So recently, we went over for dinner and noticed that the menu has changed. While hubby was placing the order, I was about to do something (which I totally forgot) and then... lo and behold... something tiny crawled past on my table...

I was in eew mode and nearly flipped over! Quickly grabbed some tissues and smothered that tiny thing! After that, the waiter kindly took away that pile of tissues. Once food arrived, I had totally forgotten about that incident. 

I noticed that even the plating has changed which was why I took the photo below... now in bento instead of a huge, gigantic plate which is good as it saves more space. 
Mid-way through our meal, the branch manager/ supervisor suddenly presented us with a free plate of fried bacon. I was surprised as we were not a member (members do get a free fried bacon whenever they flash their member card) and didn't know what has transpired as branch manager/ supervisor spoke in Mandarin (banana me don't understand). 

Hubby translated then that it was complimentary due to the earlier creepy crawly incident which I had to endure. Branch manager/ supervisor had also apologized for this untoward incident. WOW! I was really in awe! This is what I call a good customer service! No, actually a damn great one! I was really touched by his thoughtful gesture hence this complimentary blog post. I truly thought that such customer service has ceased to exists due to past unpleasant experiences.

Thank you branch manager/ supervisor (damn, didn't noticed his name tag)! We truly appreciate this wonderful gesture! Not forgetting the waiter too, if he hadn't informed his supervisor, our incident would not be known then. Great customer service still exists and lives on! Thanks again!

P/S: other restaurants should take heed from this. Honestly if you do want to retain your regular customers and through word of mouth/ social media especially in our slump of economy now.

Monday, 27 July 2015

MPOV: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1

After being rescued from the destroyed arena in the 75th Hunger Games, Katniss Everdeen, along with fellow Victors Beetee and Finnick Odair, are taken to District 13, an independent district isolated from the rest of Panem that has been spearheading the rebellion, where she is reunited with her mother and sister Prim. While recuperating, she is introduced to President Alma Coin, the rebel leader, and is told that her actions in the arena sparked riots and strikes against the Capitol. Coin asks her if she will become the "Mockingjay"—the symbol of the rebellion—as part of their "hearts and minds" strategy. Katniss flatly declines, angrily reminding her that they left Peeta Mellark, her portrayed lover and fellow District 12 tribute, behind in the arena. At the suggestion of Plutarch Heavensbee, the former Gamemaker, she is taken to see the ruins of District 12, which was completely levelled by a Capitol bombing campaign (with the exception of the houses in the Victor's Village). After seeing that Peeta is being used by Capitol state television to quell the rebellion, Katniss reluctantly changes her mind and agrees to become Coin's Mockingjay, on the condition that Peeta and the other victors will be rescued and pardoned at the earliest opportunity, and that her sister, Prim, will be allowed to keep her cat.

After Haymitch notes that Katniss thrives on spontaneity, she is introduced to her film team (led by Capitol escapee Cressida), is dressed up in a specially-designed outfit, and given Effie Trinket as a stylist and close friend Gale as a bodyguard. They go out to District 8 to visit a hospital, but as the visit concludes, a Capitol bombing squadron arrives and bombs the hospital, killing everyone inside. In her rage, Katniss gives a rousing speech to the camera, which is broadcast when Beetee hijacks the Capitol's news feed. After it is broadcast, strikers in District 7 kill an entire team of Peacekeepers with hidden land mines.

After seeing a weakened Peeta on TV the team then go back to District 12, where Gale tells the story of its destruction, and Katniss is filmed singing "The Hanging Tree". After that is broadcast, a rebel demolition team from District 5 destroys the dam providing the Capitol with electricity, forcing them to use power generators and weakening their ability to broadcast their propaganda.

The above taken from Wikipedia.

This movie, for me, was a yawn. After watching the previous Hunger Games, it was a surprised that Katniss became a wooz, a softie and a cry baby. Totally opposite from the previous gung ho, flighty and courageous Katniss. Also, the love triangle between Gale, Katniss and Peeta is becoming a bore for me... I just don't get it. With the lack of action and a very slow plot, it turned out to be lacking the fire, the zest to command the attention span hence overlooking the great costumes and acting skills. Hopefully Part 2 will be much better. 

I was contemplating to buy the novels, a trilogy, by Suzanne Collins. Now I guess I can safely say I'll skip this.

My rating: 2/5
Directed by Francis Lawrence
Casts: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks
Category: a 2014 American science fiction war adventure film

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

MPOV: Restoran On Kee

This is a new shop which serves a variety of dried noodles and chicken rice. As it's Chinese owned, most of the menu is in Mandarin so the banana us just guessed and ordered LOL!
Our order: Mixed steamed chicken with siu yoke and braised vegetable
Total bill was RM21.40 inclusive of 2 plates of rice and 2 glasses of Chinese tea. It was averagely priced with average taste. I was a little unhappy that the meal served was cold and without the accompanying hot soup. Maybe we were the last customers as they were about to close when we arrived. Other than that, portion was just right for 2 pax and we were happy campers with filled tummy.

My rating: 2.5/5
Location: 24, Jalan SS14/2A, Subang Jaya
Type: non-halal

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

MPOV: Ant-man

In 1989, scientist Hank Pym resigns from S.H.I.E.L.D. after discovering that they attempted to replicate his Ant-Man shrinking technology. Believing the technology is dangerous, Pym vows to hide it as long as he lives. In the present day, Pym's estranged daughter, Hope van Dyne, and former protégé, Darren Cross, have forced him out of his own company. Cross is close to perfecting a shrinking suit of his own, the Yellowjacket, which horrifies Pym.

Upon his release from prison, well-meaning thief Scott Lang moves in with his old cellmate, Luis. Lang's ex-wife, Maggie – engaged to policeman Paxton – agrees to let Lang see his daughter Cassie if he provides child support. Unable to hold a job due to his criminal record, Lang agrees to join Luis' gang and commit a burglary to get money. Lang breaks into a house and cracks its safe, but only finds what he believes to be an old motorcycle suit, which he takes home. After trying the suit on, Lang accidentally shrinks himself to the size of an insect. Terrified by the experience, he returns the suit to the house, but is arrested on the way out. Pym, the homeowner, visits Lang in jail and smuggles the suit into his cell to help him break out.

At his home, Pym, who manipulated Lang through Luis into stealing the suit as a test, wants Lang to become the new Ant-Man to steal the Yellowjacket from Cross. Van Dyne, who has been spying on Cross for Pym despite her strained relationship with her father, helps Pym train Lang to fight and to control ants. They send him to steal a device from the Avengers' headquarters, where he briefly fights Sam Wilson. While van Dyne still shows anger towards Pym about her mother's death, he reveals that her mother, known as the Wasp, disappeared into a subatomic quantum realm to disable a Russian nuclear missile. Pym warns Lang that he could suffer a similar fate if he overrides his suit's safeguards.

The above taken from Wikipedia.

This is as real as it gets. Totally logic especially since it's based on science and technology so this movie makes sense with all the molecular talks and subtomic quantum physics. It may dragged a little at the start but the action stunts toward the end made up for it. Paul Rudd made a fantastic Ant-man. A really cool movie to watch in the cinema... don't forget to wait until the main mid credit ends. Can't wait for the next sequel with Evangeline as Wasp!

Oh no! I just found out there is another post credit scene at the end which is related to Captain America and the Civil War! Damn, missed it! No wonder the lights were not on after the mid credit scene.

P/S: I didn't sound as excited as I was interrupted most of the time during the movie as someone had brought a autism sister along. I couldn't concentrate much hence the distracted review.

Rating: 3/5
Directed by Peyton Reed
Casts: Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Evangeline Lilly, Corey Stoll
Category: a 2015 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics characters of the same name: Scott Lang and Hank Pym

Friday, 17 July 2015

Selamat Hari Raya!

Raya greetings to all... have a nice holiday! Please drive safely for those balik kampung! Don't drink and drive ya!

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